8.23.2008

braised pork with cherries

Photobucket As you might know by now, or might be frightened to know, that I can easily become obsessed with a specific food and let it completely overtake my life until I have mastered it. Sadly, I am a master of none, but I willingly continue to try regardless. Currently, the rage is pork. We've had an ongoing relationship for years, but this affair isn't exclusive. It includes any meat that can be cooked until fork tender and requires virtually no utensils, maybe just a straw, or a good swack of bread. Cheap cuts of meat cooked right, are not the easiest feat, so I consider it a noble challenge, of which I have failed quite miserably too many times. The secret? Time. It is almost sickening how often recipes are deemed as easy or simple or fast, but ultimately, there is a lot to be said for just taking the time to cook something which isn't a lot of work, it just takes a very, very long time. In fact, I almost feel lazy with this recipe, as I watch Jeff dash around the kitchen, hastening, to roast potatoes, since, of course, I had already worked so very hard creating braised pork. Being able to cook simple foods well is an ongoing rage; cooking things like a pork shoulder. FYI, this is also sometimes, called pork butt, or even pork butt shoulder. At the butcher, they will ask are you making pulled pork? Say yes. This is the stuff you want. Then cook it for what seems like even longer than forever, and in the process, discover that the best things are not only worth waiting for, but are also worth attempting to perfect. A little bizarre to obsess about these things, sure. If it weren't for a deep yearning for flavour, and my own personal desire for food which requires some labour (of love), then perhaps everything would be easier. Fortunately, I think all of this experimenting and extensive research is starting to pay off. The technique might almost be right. And how easy, right, is to achieve, just as I was starting to doubt its existence. And then? Eureka. Try it - fortunately, good things are achievable, and tasty too. Photobucket Braised Pork with Cherries Serves 4-6 5-7 hours cooking time 4-6 lb pork shoulder (butt) roast, bone-in 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil 2 medium white onions, sliced 1 cup full-bodied red wine 2 cups chicken stock 2-3 cups of fresh pitted cherries 3 tsp coarse sea salt 1. Using the stove-top and a deep sauté pan or dutch-oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat, nearly until it starts to smoke. Carefully, using tongs, add the pork, and brown all sides resulting in a golden caramel colour. Just before browning the last side, add the onions, and cook in the oil which has formed. Add salt evenly throughout the pan. Do be sure to leave all of the rendered fat in place, as this is the main flavour of the dish. This process will take approximately 30 minutes. 2. Turn the temperature down to medium-low, and pour in the wine and chicken stock. Cover the pan and wait, approximately 4-6 hours, or until the meat is literally falling off the bone. Check with a fork. Be patient. Occasionally, turn the meat. If you need to leave the house, turn the oven to 300F, and continue the braising process in the oven. 3. Pit the cherries. 4. When the meat is fork tender, heat the oven to 375 degrees F, and place the pitted cherries on top of the roast. Spoon some of the broth that has formed on top of the meat and cherries. Place the pan, uncovered, into the pre-heated oven for another 30 minutes. 5. Turn on the broiler, and slightly carmelize the cherries. Remove from the oven and serve, spooning over the broth over the top. Serve with good crusty bread.

11 comments:

Bentoist said...

I love braised pork, except I normally work with soy sauce. Cherries is something new to me altogether, but it certainly looks exciting. I shall keep that in mind and maybe try it in the winter months. You got my mouth watering. =)

Timeless Gourmet said...

Great post! I go through my phases too...... fresh pork shoulder was one. I'm going to try this - it might start my pork thing up again!

abadeeba said...

this is on my veep short list of next pork recipes to cook. i rarely tackle things in the 4 to 6 hour range, but (as in pork butt) this really looks melt in your mouth good.

Wiggles said...

4-6 hours to make? hmmm...I think I wouldn't have the patience for that.

I'm starting to wonder if your obsession with pork is as bad as Bourdain's! Actually, I was surprised when he agreed to go to Saudi Arabia as he was cut off from his 3 favourite things: pork, alcohol, and cigarettes.

gail said...

Yes, 4-6 hours sounds like a long time, except I used nearly all of that time to read a book :) So, I guess this is a good rainy day (or snowy day) recipe. Or just a lazy day! Not that I am ever lazy... (!!)

Pam said...

I love braising meat, especially pork. This looks really good and the cherries just put it over the top. Great meal!

Anonymous said...

Gail!
Thank you again for this lovely meal. I raved to Jeremy about it, and today I am going to attempt to make it!
Shauna.

gail said...

Anytime you're in town Shauna!! As long as you show off some beautiful shoes every time..hehe :)

Jan said...

I love the look of that dish! Long slow cooking is great - I bet the meat was sooo tender - YUM!

gail said...

You nailed it Jan, it is super tender...and I realize that I am actually lazy, so I like the long slow cooking with only a few ingredients to prep. Less time on task, and less to clean!

Parker said...

What a great pairing. I am going to give that a try.

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